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Mr. Hill: The Government recognise that transport provision is particularly important to people in rural areas because jobs and services are more widely dispersed than in urban areas. In the 10-Year Plan for transport, we are developing a package of measures to improve transport provision in rural areas and we shall be developing our ideas further in the forthcoming Rural White Paper.
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Mrs. Anne Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what directions he is making to the Strategic Rail Authority to ensure that all new rail franchises require the operators to make adequate flexible space for bicycles available on their trains. 
Mr. Hill: The Deputy Prime Minister gave Instructions and Guidance to the Franchising Director on 29 September 1999 about rail franchise replacement asking him to promote the use of bicycles by seeking the provision of reasonable facilities on board new rolling stock and at stations. The replacement franchise agreements will contain provisions relating to both the carriage of bicycles on trains and the provision of storage facilities for bicycles at railway stations.
Mr. Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will publish (a) the minutes of his meeting with Regional Development Agency heads in Birmingham in June and (b) each of the business plans subsequently presented by those heads. 
Ms Beverley Hughes: The Deputy Prime Minister and other Ministers met the Regional Development Agency Chairmen in Birmingham on 23 June, to launch a consultation document, "The RDAs as Strategic Drivers of Economic Development". A copy of the document has been placed in the Library of the House.
It has been the practice of successive Administrations not to disclose confidential communication between departments and public bodies, consistent with Section 2 of Part II of the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information. We will, therefore, not be publishing the minutes of the meeting. The production of a business plan by each RDA is unrelated to this meeting. Two have been published and others are at various stages of preparation.
Mr. Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what the future role is of the Government Offices for the Regions; and what (a) are their proposed budgets and (b) were their budgets in each of the last five years. 
Ms Beverley Hughes: Following the publication of the PIU Report "Reaching Out" we are developing the role of Government Offices (GOs) to ensure strengthened co-ordination of policy initiatives with a regional and local impact. The GOs are being given the lead role in bringing together other Departments' and Agencies' involvement at the local level, ensuring activities are complementary. All Departments whose responsibilities affect regional or local activities are committed to better co-ordination of key policies by involving Government Offices.
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Mr. Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions (1) what urban regeneration funds have been made available from agencies under the control of his Department for the Millennium Dome and its environs; how such funds have been used; and what estimate he has made of the sale proceeds which will be recredited to his Department; 
Ms Beverley Hughes: English Partnerships, which is under the control of my Department, purchased the Greenwich Peninsula site from British Gas in 1997. Since then it has used part of its regeneration funding grant from my Department to remediate the site, provide roads, footpaths, services, landscaping, river wall walks, improvements to the A102 and permanent facilities such as a park. The part of the peninsula directly associated with the Millennium Dome covers land north of the Jubilee line and North Greenwich Transport Interchange. English Partnerships' expenditure for this area amounts to £15.53 million. The sales proceeds returning to the Department will be determined in the light of the Dome Legacy Competition.
Mr. Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions when, and in what form, the Government will respond to the recent vote by SERPLAN rejecting his house building numbers for the South-east. 
Ms Beverley Hughes: The Secretary of State will carefully consider all the views expressed by SERPLAN and in more than 900 other representations received on regional planning guidance for the South-east, before he reaches any conclusions.
Mr. Matthew Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what monitoring his Department undertakes of private finance initiative contracts undertaken by local government; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Matthew Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what the net present cost is of each project undertaken in his Department under the private finance initiative; what the value is of their public sector comparators in (a) pre-risk and (b) risk-adjusted terms; what risks have been identified as having been transferred; and if he will place information on other relevant costs for each private finance initiative project in the Library. 
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initiative contracts within his Department in respect of (a) refinancing and (b) other contingencies; and if he will place copies of each private finance initiative contract in the Library. 
Ms Beverley Hughes: General provisions exist within all the private finance contracts for payments to be made by the contractor in relation to termination on contractor default. The contract for the Croydon Tramlink includes an incentive share agreement whereby Transport for London will share in any refinancing benefits. Transport for London would also receive a share of any excess revenues obtained by the concessionaire. A refinancing of the Channel Tunnel Rail Link (CTRL) would benefit the Government by reducing the requirement for operating subsidy. In addition the CTRL contract allows Government to share in any construction cost underrun as well as a positive cashflow after 2021.
The MOT computerisation contract includes provision for value for money reviews to be conducted at pre- determined intervals which will examine profit compared with predicted profit which could result in payments back to the Vehicle Inspectorate. This contract also enables the Vehicle Inspectorate to share in the profits of any value added services deriving from the contract.
In accordance with Treasury Taskforce Policy Statement No 5 (Provision of Information to Parliament), which sets out best practice in relation to departments' obligations to disclose information to Parliament, my Department has not deposited any information in the Library.
Mr. Matthew Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what the average cost to public funds is of external advisers in the negotiation of private finance intiative projects for roads projects expressed as a proportion of each contract's value. 
Mr. Hill: Figures for individual contracts are not available. For the eight privately financed trunk road contracts awarded in England the cost of external advisers expressed as a proportion of the contracts' value is less than one per cent. of the net present value of expected payments over the 30 year life of contracts.
Mr. Burgon: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions when the last meeting of Green Ministers took place; what was discussed; and which departments were represented by (a) Ministers and (b) officials. 
Mr. Meacher: Green Ministers held their second meeting of this year on 6 July. We discussed progress on integrating the environment into policy and the feasibility of reporting on transport emissions on the Government Estate. The Green Minister for the Department of International Development, my hon. Friend the Member for Carrick, Cumnock and Doon Valley (Mr. Foulkes), spoke about the sustainable development priority (within the Government's National Strategy) of
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The departments represented by Ministers were: Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions; Department for Culture, Media and Sport; Foreign and Commonwealth Office; Department of Health; Department for International Development; Law Officers' Departments; Lord Chancellor's Department and Department of Trade and Industry. Those represented by officials were: Chancellor's Departments, Home Office and Department of Social Security. The Whips Office was also represented.
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